Q&A: Mercury Mufflers IT manager, Richard Thompson

Thompson talks about server replacement, cars and the challenges running an IT department

A self-confessed car and computers fan, Richard Thompson is in his element managing IT for Brisbane-based exhaust system supplier, Mercury Mufflers.

He spoke to Computerworld Australia about recent projects he is working on at the company and the challenges of being the sole IT staff member.

What does your role at Mercury Mufflers involve?

I’m the IT manager, admin manager and second in charge to the chief executive. I’m sort of a jack of all trades.

What are some of the challenges you face in the role of IT manager?

My biggest challenge is people. When they say they’ve got a [computer] problem, it’s usually something they’ve done. Computers, if used correctly, do the job for you.

What are some of the projects you’ve been working on?

I’m currently bedding down a Sage enterprise resource planning [ERP] Accpac platform which was rolled out to our offices in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia late last year. It’s been used to generate sales reports so the business can compare statistics and plan ahead.

All of my servers are getting quite old so we’re looking at installing new servers or creating one centralised server in Brisbane so all the branches can connect to it via remote access. I’d like to go with a centralised server as it would be easier to manage.

I looked at Cloud services but worked out that over a five-year period it would be cheaper to buy servers.

What are the biggest issues facing IT managers today?

Management, Executives don’t want to spend money on [IT] equipment if it’s still working. It’s like a car, when a car can no longer be serviced, you replace it.

Users. Sometimes users don’t listen to IT [staff] and won’t admit to causing a fault which can compound the issue.

What do you like about working in the automotive industry?

I’ve always had a strong interest in cars and computers. There are a lot of down-to-earth people in the industry so it’s great getting to know them.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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